One-Pointed Devotion is the Way to Fearlessness
Forgetfulness grips one who turns away from the Lord. Regarding the body as the very Self, the thought of another, a second, brings fear. It is a creation of Maya, Lord’s own inscrutable power, that causes this wrong identification. Therefore, the wise person, regarding the Lord Himself to be the Teacher, the deities as well as one’s own Self, should take to worshiping Him, through one-pointed devotion.
Points for Introspection
Everybody in this world wants happiness and joy. However, most of the people are satisfied with short-lived pleasures. The world, with its infinite allurements, attracts the human mind variously. Although the happiness derived from worldly gains is perishable and short-lived, people run after such short-lived happiness alone. They are completely ignorant about the eternal happiness, which is Lord Himself, and is attained when one’s mind becomes one-pointedly devoted to the Lord.
When the mind is focused on the worldly gains and sufferings, it practically turns away from the supreme Lord, who is none but one’s own Self and can be realized in one’s own within. When the mind deviates from the Self or God, and becomes focused on the perishable world, one completely forgets one’s true identity – that he is not the perishable body but the imperishable eternal Soul. Being verily the immortal Soul, he feels he is the mortal body.
In fact, it is by Lord’s own Maya that one mistakenly identifies with the body-mind-intelligence and starts thinking ‘I am the body’ and so on. Subsequently, desire to possess things as ‘mine’ grows in one. This ‘I-ness’ and ‘mine-ness’ brings about all the miseries. One is always anxious and fearful whether one will get whatever he wants. Also, one is always fearful about losing whatever he possesses.
The Self is one without a second and is all-pervading, but the supreme Lord brings about plurality in our minds by His own Maya. Only when there is a second entity other than oneself, the question of possessing or enjoying arises. Then alone arises the question of fear in one’s mind – fear of losing something different from oneself. When there is only One, who loses what and who fears whom?
So, when a devotee realizes the supreme Lord in himself as the one eternal Being, he has no fear; he attains the abode of fearlessness. Whatever life brings to him, he remains unaffected and delightful.
This shloka says, fear arises in the mind of a person when one has a differential outlook; that is, when one has a feeling that “there is another different from me”. By the Lord’s own Maya, our mind gets this divisional outlook. We turn away from God and forget to remember Him as our own Self. As a result, we ceaselessly suffer from torments and fear. To overcome this suffering, a devotee should worship and serve the supreme Lord with one-pointed devotion, recognizing His presence in the Guru, in all deities, and in one’s own Self.
The emphasis of this shloka is on removing fear from one’s mind. And it points out that to remove fear, the idea of two and many has to be removed from the mind by gaining the knowledge of the singular, eternal Self.
How will the mind gain the knowledge of the Self? How will one develop supreme devotion to God?
The seeker must approach a Guru and regard the Guru as God Himself. Approaching the Guru, he must seek guidance and instruction from him. Being instructed by the Guru, he should practice singular devotion to God.
Here, the word एकया भक्त्या (ekayā bhaktyā) is very important. Only by एक-भक्ति (eka-bhakti) – singular or one-pointed devotion – the mind turns away from the world and dwells solely on the Lord. And, only in the realization of the one imperishable Lord does all fear disappear.
By chanting this shloka repeatedly, a compulsion to attain singular devotion arises in the mind.
भयं (bhayaṃ) = fear; द्वितीयाभिनिवेशतः (dvitīyābhiniveśata:) = being absorbed in a second (in something other than the Lord); स्यात् (syāt) = is; ईशात् (īśāt) = from the Lord; अपेतस्य (apetasya) = of one who has deviated from; विपर्ययः (viparyaya:) = misidentification; अस्मृतिः (asmṛti:) = forgetfulness; तत् (tat) = of the Lord; मायया (māyayā) = by creation of maya; अतः (ata:) = therefore; बुधः (budha:) = a wise person; आभजेत् (ābhajet) = should worship wholesomely; तम् (tam) = Him; एकया भक्त्या (ekayā bhaktyā) = through singular devotion; ईशं (īśaṃ) = the Lord; गुरुदेवतात्मा (gurudevatātmā) = one who regards the Guru as the Lord and also as one’s own Self;
द्वितीयाभिनिवेशतः भयं स्यात् । ईशात् अपेतस्य (भगवतः) अस्मृतिः । तत् मायया विपर्ययः (भवेत्) । अतः गुरुदेवतात्मा बुधः एकया भक्त्या तम् ईशं आभजेत् ।
dvitīyābhiniveśata: bhayaṃ syāt. īśāt apetasya (bhagavata:) asmṛti: . tat māyayā viparyaya: (bhavet). ata: gurudevatātmā budha: ekayā bhaktyā tam īśaṃ ābhajet.
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